Traveling is a great way to spend some of your vacation time, but it can become costly. This is especially true when your plans will take you out of the country. By considering the most common expenses you'll incur on your getaway, you can plan ahead and know that you’re better protected in a financial sense.
Plan for Your Meals
Aside from your accommodations, your meals may represent your biggest expense and you should plan for three meals per day, along with snacking. Even if you don't eat that often at home, you'll work up a bigger appetite on the road and you'll want to sample new dishes along the way. Packing snacks, such as nuts, berries, and other nonperishable foods can help you avoid the fast food spots on your travels. Save your money for dining at your destination. Additionally, you can download apps or search Google for restaurants in your destination city. This can help you get a sense of the costs, while you're planning your trip budget.
You probably didn't forget to account for your airfare, but that's only one aspect of the transportation fees you'll encounter. Unless you're renting a car, you probably forgot to account for cab fare, bus fares, and other transportation costs. If you are renting a car, don't forget to account for fuel and insurance. It may be wise to search gas prices in your destination city in advance, so you won't face sticker shock at the pumps.
Don't Forget Your Documents
Wherever you're going, you'll need photo I.D. at the very least. If you're leaving the country, you'll also need an up-to-date passport for yourself and anyone traveling with you. Check in advance to determine your total passport fees and to find out what documents you'll need for yourself and any children traveling with you. Additionally, allow extra time for processing. While some people may qualify for expedited processing and can receive their new passport within 24 hours, this isn't always the case. Expect delays, so your travel plans won't be inconvenienced.
Using Your Plastic
While the chip has made using our credit and debit cards more convenient at home and abroad, it won't come without a price. Before you leave on your vacation, you should contact your bank and credit card companies for two reasons. First, you'll want to notify that you will be traveling and will be using your cards, so they won't flag unusual activity as suspicious. Secondly, ask them about any fees for using your cards at out-of-network ATMs or about using your card at businesses in your destination location. If you can account for these fees in advance and add them to your budget, you'll be better prepared for your trip.
Invest in Travel Insurance
While travel insurance is an added expense that will drive up the cost of your vacation, the protection is well worth it. In addition to providing reservation cancellation benefits, it will also help you cover emergency medical expenses and reimburse you for lost or stolen items. This type of insurance represents a small percentage of your total vacation costs, but can be greatly appreciated in a time of need. If you're bringing a pet along, it might be worthwhile to invest in pet travel insurance, as well. This will cover vet bills, if your pet gets sick or injured on the trip, as well as providing liability insurance, if your dog bites or otherwise injures someone.
Bring a Back-Up Fund
Even if you plan your trip down to the very last detail, you're probably forgetting something. Similarly, you may run out of sunscreen or lose your mobile device charger. Any number of things may cause you to spend more money than you expect. For that reason, it's important to plan for surprise expenses. Bringing a little extra with you can help you stay on track with your budget and continue to enjoy your time away from home.
Getting away from the grind is an exciting opportunity. It gives you and your family a chance to experience new cultures and explore the natural wonders of the world. It can also be an expensive endeavor. By planning ahead, you can ensure that there will be very few unexpected costs associated with the trip, which will help ensure everyone has a great time.